Aha Me Hearties!

Today we had a pirate themed birthday party for Toby who’ll be 7 on Thursday. The kids all had a go helping to rebuild the pirate ship tree house that had fallen into disrepair since being built a few years ago.

Dave brought down a trailer load of larch off cuts that he’d sawn up for making Thunderbox Compost Toilets and we all set to work throughout the day to start the rebuild. It was great to see so many little hands on deck helping to create the structure in between pirate themed play – including voluntarily walking the plank!

I certainly learnt a bit about woodwork and construction and I think the kids came away with a good experience. Hopefully we’ll be able to finish it soon and I can post pictures of the finished ship.


Astrology Affects the Yield of Shiitake Mushrooms



Here at Middle Ruckham Farm we schedule tasks in the garden according to the Biodynamic Calender mainly as a handy way to work out what tasks to prioritise on each day. Dave has observed that cutting the lawn on a Flower Day means it grows back much slower than if it is done on a Leaf Day and that the bees here are much more docile on Flower Days than any other so there seems to be something interesting going on with this system.

I decided to do a little internet research to see if any observations or experiments had been done with Biodynamics and mushroom growing and came across a very interesting article that seems to give some strong evidence in favour of doing mushroom inoculation on Flower Days to gain an increased yield. So I am posting the link below for you to read and I hope to experiment myself over time to see what observations I can make.

‘Astrology Affects the Yield of Shiitake Mushrooms’ by Michael Barreto, Ph.D

Not to bee…

This morning whilst adding more weeds to the compost pile I heard a very loud humming that I quickly guessed was the sound of thousands of bees who had decided to leave with their queen to find a new home. The bees had become a swarm that was looking to start a new colony.

Me and Dave got some protective suits on and Dave set to work catching a group that had settled on a near by small Oak tree, that had been kept from growing by constant nibbling from sheep, in the hope of relocating them into a new hive. Unfortunately it seems that there was no queen within this relatively small mass of bees – it is possible that what I heard was the main swarm leaving to find their own new home and what we found on the little Oak was the last remaining bees who hadn’t left with the main swarm. So a short while later it was clear the bees that Dave moved had returned back to the original hive where they and a new queen should set to work doing what bees do best.

It is a little bit of a shame that we couldn’t catch the swarm but I like to think that as I write this they are settling in for their first night in a lovely new home as the beginnings of a wild colony.

Go well bees and I wish you all a happy life in the Devon countryside.

Here is a series of photos I took of Dave relocating the bees we found to a new hive…

A Sunday Stroll

This morning I left the farm to explore the wider world surrounding us at Middle Ruckham. The sun was smiling down on the earth and some old Oak trees gave me a little shade to rest under briefly. I waved and said hello to the few people I met who were all smiling as brightly as the sun and I watched a buzzard gracefully glide down into a tree top beside a field. I kept climbing higher into the landscape and after an hour I came to a low hedge and was presented with this beautiful view…

Devon Hills

Settling in at Middle Ruckham Farm


My first week WWOOFing at Middle Ruckham Farm has flown by and been thoroughly enjoyable. I’ve been helping harvest salad, clearing areas of jungle-like polytunnels and planted a new rose bush hedge yesterday which will be lovely to see when it matures.

I’ve greatly enjoyed spending time with the family here and meeting other interesting folk who work or visit here. I certainly feel I’ve found the right place to be where I can learn about so many of the things that I’m interested in at this stage of my journey and also feel that my contributions are valued.

I’m going to find my camera charger this weekend and start taking some photos of the beautiful land here as well as some before and after shots of some of the work I’m doing here. I look forward to sharing these.

My year is just about to blossom…

apple Blossom


This time tomorrow I will be settling in to my new home on the beautiful Middle Ruckham Farm in Devon. I see so many opportunities ahead of me and feel so grateful to have found this place and the people there. I look forward to giving my energy to the work on the farm and am excited about all the space I’ve been given to experiment with growing mushrooms.

It feels like my year is just about to blossom…